SUNY Upstate Gets Federal Grant to Find Better Ways to Care for Frail Elderly

May 12, 2015

Congress Member John Katko (left) helps explain a grant for the study of frail elderly, along with Chuckie Holstein (center) and Dr. Sharon Brangman (in white coat).
Credit Rob Romano/WAER News

  Upstate Medical University is teaming up with community groups to improve care for older people who are frail. A federal research grant will create a group of citizens, patients, clinicians, and other professionals to go into the community and learn about the needs of frail citizens. Dr. Sharon Brangman of Upstate says the focus of frailty care is to keep people in their own homes as long as possible.  To do that, she says, citizens need to be part of the conversation.  

“Normally, researchers get in a room and think of something, then go out into the community to find out who to do it to. This is going to be a different process. 

Dr. Sharon Brangman will help with the research
Credit Rob Romano/WAER News

  What we’re going to do is engage people with conversations, we’re going to go out into various aspects of Onondaga County, and have conversations with older adults to find out what their concerns are and how we can keep them in their own home.”

A study done by FOCUS Greater Syracuse has found that older people prefer to age at home. Executive Director Charlotte Holstein is a caretaker herself. She says members of the community might have some new ideas. 

“An example would be if you’re doing some caregiving at home. What the person might need most is a downstairs bathroom with hand rails and hand bars. So, if we hear that kind of thing that would help keep a person home and prevent them from becoming too frail, that is what we need to do.” 

Holstein also says that almost a third of the population of Onondaga County is in their senior years. The federal grant is around $15,000 and comes through the Affordable Care Act.